The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Government Ministers Governors and Members of the diplomatic Corps, Members of Parliament, Chairman and members of MRDC Board, Representatives of the shareholders of Star mountain Plaza who are here tonight, MRDC’s subsidiaries, all landowner leaders, members of PEC for Gulf Province, Fly River Province and Southern Highlands Province, our guests from Hilton World Wide, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is indeed an honor to have you all here this evening to witness the launching of the star Mountain plaza. This has been a marathon journey, which began in 2012 when the concept was initiated, and now after 3 years of design re-engineering and continued economic re-modeling this magnificent project is now a reality.
The next lap will be even more challenging because we only have less than three years to construct three world class facilities for APEC in 2018. As you can see, early works has already commenced for the first stage consisting of a 15 story 212 room Hilton Hotel and the 5 story Car Park, and by the end of the year foundations will be laid for the 4 level Kutubu convention center and the Residential tower with 160 apartments.
The next stage of the journey is after APEC when more commercial, retail and office space will be developed and potentially a 2nd Hotel.
Star Mountain Plaza will not only transform the Port Moresby landscape, but also set a new benchmark for high-rise building in PNG. This project will create the critical mass necessary to be the address of choice for business, pleasure and entertainment.
Projects of such magnitude in the property sector has never been done before by a PNG company and more so challenging given the current economic condition, but it takes sheer courage and confidence to undertake such project.
I commend the owners of Star Mountain Plaza, the respective Boards of Mineral Resource Star Mountain, Mineral Resource OK Tedi and Petroleum Resource Kutubu who have given their absolute commitment to this project.
For the landowners of OK Tedi and Fly River Provincial Government this is their next OK Tedi. Let me give you are practical example. Over the last 5 years when OK Tedi was in its prime operation the average dividend paid to MROT and MRSM was around K30 million annually. The two three years with barely no dividends coming from the mine, income from other investment grown over the last 5 years have contributed about K10 million which is 1/3 of what it used to receive from OK Tedi Mine. This is not sufficient to satisfy the growing population, expectations and the changing social obligations. The Star Mountain Plaza when fully operational will fill the gap and eventually replace Ok Tedi Mines income stream.
For Petroleum Resource Kutubu it is a celebration of its diverse growing investment portfolio outside of the oil and gas sector. PRK brings credibility into the project with total asset of K1.8 billion and K1.2 billion in net asset. Together the combine balance sheet of the three entities amounts to total assets of well over K2.4 billion and a net asset of K1.8 billion.
MRDC is proud to have assisted in the growth of these companies, particularly through the very trying times of the past, and to now be here leading major developments like this. This is indeed a testament to our success.
The total cost of the first stage of the Star Mountain Plaza is K1.1 billion which involves a funding partnership between ANZ Bank, and the State through the spirit of Private Public Partnership to host APEC 2018.
With the signing of the management agreement with the largest global brand, Hilton Group two weeks ago reinforces confidence in business and tourism in this country. I’m hoping this will be a catalyst for other international brand to enter and unlock the country’s tourism potential. The main contractor of the project will be announced before Independence Day in September.
After 40 years of Independence the Star Mountain Plaza project will transform the mindset of landowners as ‘rent collectors’ to Developers.
All though we might not have the wealth of the Arab Sheiks, it is sometimes healthy for landowners to think like them.
We hope that Star Mountain Plaza will also be a catalyst to change the mindset, attitude and improve the quality of lifestyle of many Papua New Guineans. Star Mountain Plaza will be the five star address where you eat, drink, shop or do business you may feel you are in Australia or Singapore, but you will know without a doubt, by the cultural inclusions in our design, that you are in PNG.
The biggest question left now is can MRDC deliver before APEC 2018? There is that perception when driving along Boroko seeing the failed 4-mile casino project is always synonymous with MRDC. The fact is that we had a small interest and someone else was the Developer.
In 10 days time we will open The Pearl Resort in Fiji, which is a K100million development of a five star resort with 220 rooms, marine facilities, spa, five star dining and a 200 acre championship Golf Course. This project which was built below budget and 2 months ahead of schedule is a reflection of MRDC’s capability and aim to diversify its investments and reduce our resources owners risk outside of the mining and petroleum sector. This project is regarded the third largest project that will impact the Fijian economy. This is the first Development project MRDC has ever undertaken after 40 years of its existence. We have learned and become better and will ensure Star Mountain Plaza lives up to its expectations.
The star mountain plaza is a legacy project that claims back the landowner’s heritage and dignity and contributes to nation building.
Star Mountain Plaza is visionary project that is ambitious but innovative and will capture the country’s diverse cultural elements in the design. The financing and construction methodology will be unconventional, but value engineered to maximize shareholder returns.
Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, APEC 2018 is three years away but the Pacific Renaissance has begun with Star Mountain Plaza.
The Future is here.
Above: MRDC Managing Director Augustine Mano delivering the speech during the Star Mountain Plaza project groundbreaking ceremony.